Someone blew the whistle on a State ferry employee who was leaving work early to coach a children’s baseball team and billing the State as though he was working a full day. Mr. Chaussee proved at trial that he was perceived to have been the whistleblower when in fact he was not, and he demoted owing to his management’s misperception. The jury found that:
- Chaussee was a perceived whistleblower
- Chaussee was demoted
And the State failed to prove that:
- The demotion was taken for reasons unrelated to Mr. Chaussee’s status as a whistleblower; and
- An improper retaliatory motive was not a substantial factor in the decision to demote Mr. Chaussee.
The jury also found that Mr. Chaussee suffered noneconomic damages in the amount of $1 million.